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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

REC announces recruitment award winners for 2023

Press releases

A recruiter’s success at helping people in an area with few opportunities to gain STEM skills and another’s work to get Ukrainians into work were among the winners at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Awards last night.

The annual REC Awards highlight the best in the UK’s recruitment and staffing industry, from start-ups to multinationals.

Competition for staff in the UK is a challenge and makes it all the more important to recognise and praise the skills of recruitment professionals who are making a real difference for the clients/employers and workers they support. They play a pivotal role in creating economic growth and wider society.

The awards form part of REC’s work to drive standards and empower recruiters to work at their best.

Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, said:

“In a year where opportunities have been harder to find and client businesses have been under pressure from high inflation and low growth, people have needed recruiters all the more to help them navigate a fast-changing market. From workforce planning to sourcing new forms of skills as the labour market is disrupted by technological change, our industry has never been more vital.

“The standard of entries was very high. All our shortlisted entries deserve congratulations. The judges had to make some extraordinarily tough decisions this year. Nominees should feel immense pride in what they have achieved – and the winners especially so.”

Among the many interesting winners was Morson Group who won the Community Impact of the Year award. Morson Group funded a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning centre in an area in Salford where labour market progression opportunities are low. They helped learners find work after their study. Attendees at the REC Awards heard how this programme achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives while at the same time engaging with stakeholders and staff alike to huge effect. This work on increasing STEM skills in the UK is so important given shortages of skills in these areas impeding productivity, economic growth and achieving net zero and energy security.

Our Start-up of the Year was Core3, who set new standards on innovation and quality of service for a new business, while our Agency Star of the Year was Abigail Barclay of Inspired Search & Selection, who used her thought leadership in the publishing market to shape client expectations, improve diversity and help open up opportunities.

And the Diversity Initiative of the Year award winner was Randstad. They launched a mentor-mentee scheme for Ukrainian women displaced from their homes by the war, and supporting them to get work in the UK. The scheme helps the women deal with the practical hurdles of joining the UK labour market such as exhaustive right to work checks.

The Recruiter of the Year 2023 is Lisa Thurkettle, of Pertemps.

Neil Carberry said:

“The word frequently used to describe Lisa is ‘trailblazing’. But alongside corporate improvements that build commercial success, she comes across to staff as empathetic, a mentor, humble and supportive – all the characteristics you need to be a winner in recruitment. Congratulations to her on winning the overall award at our ceremony.”

The winner of the Recruitment Team of the Year award is VHR.

Neil Carberry said:

“Our panel of independent judges particularly liked VHR’s transparency of the cost benefits to their clients of their work, saving significant money but also improving the lives of local employees by upskilling and reskilling them to provide better outcomes, and job opportunities.”

Lifetime Achievement Awards for John Hamilton of Bucks and Berks Recruitment (pictured with REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry)

John ‘grew up’ in recruitment after his mother Lorna Hamilton acquired the Bucks and Berks agency in 1947. After joining the business in 1972, John officially took over the business from his parents in 1980 and ran the business for almost 40 years before handing it on to the next generation.

Neil Carberry said:

“John has always been focussed not just on successful growth but also on standards and by doing things the right way. And in sharing that prosperity, not just with long-serving staff but also sponsoring local events, sports teams and charities. This is a business deeply rooted in where it is based – and this approach has contributed to it making huge impacts on people’s lives over many years. John’s leadership has been critical to all of this.”


Notes to editors: 

  1. The awards were judged by a panel of individuals from across different businesses and organisations.
  2. In all, 50 individual and 77 company entries were shortlisted across 19 categories. The winners were announced at the REC Awards ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on 23 November. Award-winning comedian Mark Watson presented the ceremony. Mark is a star of the UK stand-up scene with a wide range of TV and radio credits from Have I Got News For You to his own show Mark Watson Makes The World Substantially Better.
  3. There was a charity collection for Trussell Trust at the event.
  4. Contact for photographs. More information at
  5. List of winners:

Best Newcomer in Temporary Recruitment
Liam Shea, from Carrington West.

Best Newcomer in Permanent Recruitment
Rhianna Patmore from Inspired Selection.

Temporary Recruiter of the Year
Nik Shah from Tile Hill.

Permanent Recruiter of the Year
Jodie Rafferty from Rafferty Resourcing Ltd.

Agency Star of the Year
Abigail Barclay from Inspired Search & Selection.

Candidate Experience of the Year
Helen Darling from 4myschools.

Business Leader of the Year (for businesses with a turnover of up to £5 million)
Martyn Hurricks from Talent Locker Ltd.

Business Leader of the Year, (for businesses with a turnover of over £5 million)
Lisa Thurkettle from Pertemps.

Shared Services Team of the Year
Reeson Education.

Recruitment Team of the Year

Demonstrating High Standards in Recruitment Award
Employ Recruitment.

Client Transformation Delivery Through Outstanding Recruitment Services Award
ID Medical.

Community Impact of the Year
Morson Group.

Diversity Initiative of the Year
Randstad UK.

People Development Business of the Year
Carrington West.

Start Up of the Year award

Best Company to work for with up to 20 employees

Best Company to work for with up to 50 employees
Castle Employment Group.

Best Company to work for with over 50 employees
STR Ltd.

Lifetime Achievement Award winner
John Hamilton.

Recruiter of the Year for 2023
Lisa Thurkettle, from Pertemps.

Click here to view all REC press releases and for more information and interview enquiries, contact the REC Press Office on 020 7009 2157, 020 7009 2129 or Outside of regular office hours, please call 07702 568 829.                                                                                                      

The REC is the voice of the recruitment industry, speaking up for great recruiters. We drive standards and empower recruitment businesses to build better futures for great candidates and themselves. We are champions of an industry which is fundamental to the strength of the UK economy.

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